A record number of gubernatorial candidates support legalization. Retired cops are campaigning for marijuana legalization in Michigan. Francis Ford Coppola is launching a cannabis brand. Also: White Castle is opposing a measure that would reduce marijuana penalties in Ohio. 🤔🍔🌳
Marijuana in the midterms. A comprehensive look at cannabis policy in the upcoming midterm elections finds that the issue is influencing everything from local initiatives to high-profile Senate races. Voters will be weighing in on legalization ballot initiatives, and the issue could play a role in some tight gubernatorial and Congressional races. The Rolling Stone A look at criminal justice reform on the ballot, including felony re-enfranchisement (Florida) and sentencing reform for drug offenses (Ohio). The Marshall Project Related: In Ohio, voters will weigh in on Issue 1, which would reduce certain cannabis felonies to misdemeanors (among other drug reforms). White Castle, a brand that has “become near-synonymous with marijuana,” donated $15,000 to the opposition campaign. “Why is White Castle anti-decriminalization and pro-prison? Whatever the reason, if John Cho and Kal Penn ever make another sequel, Harold and Kumar will probably switch to In-n-Out.” Cannabis Now
Record number of governor hopefuls support legalization. At least 21 gubernatorial candidates support cannabis legalization, “far more than have embraced marijuana law reform than in any previous election cycle.” Democratic candidates are more likely to support legalization, though two sitting governors who have actually signed marijuana laws are Republicans. Forbes Governor races could have a big impact not only on marijuana laws, but how they’re implemented. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie stymied the medical marijuana market while he was in office, while his successor governor Phil Murphy has worked to expand it. Marijuana Business Daily
The real power lies with district attorneys. “While politicians make laws and police officers can arrest whoever they find in possession of drugs, it’s prosecutors who turn arrests into criminal charges. Prosecutors have the final say in who to charge with a crime, which charge to use, and what punishment will be sought.” Here’s an analysis of how DAs in the nation’s most populous counties enforce drug laws. Despite prosecutors talking about treating drug use as a public health issue, the vast majority of them still oppose drug reform policies. Case in point: “When an elderly Vietnam War veteran said at a 2015 Tempe, Arizona town hall that he used marijuana to cope with a medical condition, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery declared that he had ‘no respect’ for him and called him the ‘enemy.'” Filter
Retired cops campaigning for legalization. A group of retired police officers are campaigning for marijuana legalization in Michigan and pushing back against law enforcement groups, most of whom oppose the legalization ballot initiative. The officers criticized policing for profit and the financial interests in the criminal justice system that depend on prohibition. They also pointed to legalization as a way to help repair relationships between law enforcement and overpoliced communities. While many opponents point to impaired driving as a reason not to legalize cannabis, a retired sergeant described it as “offensive” to suggest that officers will not have the ability to evaluate impairment. M Live
Pot grower’s win could slow down similar lawsuits. Despite losing the case, the attorney who helped sue a Colorado cannabis cultivation under federal racketeering laws vowed “many more days in federal court” for the marijuana industry. But analysts and attorneys say that the jury’s rejection of his legal argument “likely threw cold water on a novel legal claim targeting cannabis companies… the verdict could dissuade others from filing similar lawsuits, which are expensive to litigate.” The Associated Press
🚨 Shameless Promotions 🚨
Popped.NYC: CBD – Learn. Hang. Shop.
Word on the Tree is supported by GeekTek, a technology and security service provider for companies in growth mode throughout US and Canada. Learn more: GeekTek
Judge rules against state in medical marijuana case. A New Mexico District Court judge ruled that the state health department’s 450-plant limit for medical marijuana dispensaries “is not based on fact or reliable data and is not rationally related to its regulatory authority.” The judge gave regulators 120 days to come up with a new rule that doesn’t impede patient access. A woman filed a lawsuit against the health department in 2016 after she had trouble obtaining the CBD oil for her daughter’s medical needs. She was told that she would have to move to a different state to get the oil. Albuquerque Journal
In cannabis business news… Filmmaker turned vintner Francis Ford Coppola is getting into the weed businesses with a cannabis brand dubbed The Grower’s Series. “Wine and cannabis are two ancient and bounteous gifts of Mother Nature, linked by great care, terroir and temperateness,” Coppola said in a statement. North Bay Business Journal How a marijuana processing facility used beer hops to get ready for launch because it couldn’t use actual marijuana to test its marijuana processing equipment. WEWS Alcohol giant Constellation Brands completed its $4 billion investment into a Canadian cannabis producer. The Drinks Business MedMen continues its acquisition spree, inking a $33 million deal with an Arizona cannabis firm. Marijuana Business Daily
Cannabis in Canada. Since the country rolled out its new recreational marijuana market, 12 people have been charged for violating the new cannabis law. Officers busted an illicit grow operation with 94 plants two days after the new law took effect. Other charges include cannabis impairment, underage use and possession, and consuming cannabis inside a vehicle. CBC News Travel Canada warns that travelers to Singapore can be drug-tested upon arrival (and subsequently arrested) even for consuming legal cannabis before arriving in the country. Global News A reporter bought weed from the Ontario Cannabis Store and filmed an unboxing video. The Record Cannabis execs criticized Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s decision to allow only one store for online cannabis sales. “Simply put, there is only one outlet where consumers can go. If there were 40 stores, then the demand could have been spread across a number of areas and things would have been a lot more smooth.” Global News
Elsewhere around the world… The new medical cannabis law in the U.K. has been criticized for its narrow scope and limited patient access. The mother of Alfie Dingley, one of the high-profile pediatric epilepsy patients that helped push the government to reform the law, fears that needy patients still won’t be able to get their medicine and vows to continue her advocacy. The Guardian A look inside the British greenhouses that are growing cannabis destined for the U.S. market. Bloomberg A study out of Brazil found that people generally saw marijuana reform as a liberal political issue. A hypothetical marijuana bill authored by a conservative-leaning politician didn’t affect how Brazilians viewed the bill, whether they were on the left or right. But support for reform dropped significantly among conservatives if they were told the bill was authored by a liberal politician. Marijuana Moment
Hugh Grant signs on for marijuana movie. The actor is joining the cast of Toff Guys, a Guy Ritchie-penned film that will explore “the collision between European ‘old money’ and the modern marijuana industry.” Henry Golding, Kate Beckinsale, and Matthew McConaughey have also signed on to the project. The Hollywood Reporter
Delicious. Charli XCX may not be the first name that springs to mind when you’re going to smoke weed, but our columnist insists she’s a good fit. The pop artist “has more energy than the Energizer Bunny,” wrote one reviewer, so a sativa may be the way to go. Word on the Tree
Word on the States
- In Massachusetts, recreational marijuana sales are expected to start within two weeks, according to the state’s top regulator. The state granted six final and 11 provisional cannabis licenses.
- In New Hampshire, the marijuana study commission released its report, which does not take a position on legalization itself.
- In Maine, the state estimates that the first marijuana retail stores could open next year.
- In Ohio, regulators are now accepting petitions to add medical marijuana-qualifying conditions.
- In Alaska, the state collected $1.48 million in marijuana tax revenue in September, a slight dip from August.
- In Michigan, a look at the arguments surrounding the marijuana legalization ballot initiative.
- In Vermont, a physicians’ group comes out against a commercial cannabis market.
- In North Dakota, congressional candidates oppose the ballot measure to legalize marijuana.
Word for Word
“Marijuana never should have been illegal in the first place. Through decades of reefer madness, Americans were led to believe that marijuana is far more harmful than it actually is. This is not to say it’s harmless. But it is safe to say it is less harmful than alcohol, another substance that once was illegal and is now widely accepted in our country. Nevertheless, our federal government and many states still have laws on the books that criminalize marijuana use, and they are all too frequently enforced.” – Executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project Steve Hawkins for USA Today
“After doing over two decades in federal prison for selling marijuana and LSD, I was stoked as fuck to be returning to a marijuana-friendly world when I was released in 2015… The only thing that sucked on my release was that I was in Missouri—St. Louis, to be exact—and they didn’t have any kind of recreational or medical program enacted. In fact, they hadn’t even decriminalized yet… While none of the three options go far enough, to full legalization, it would be a clear step in the right direction and a big move for Missouri… We have a long way to go, but I’m excited. Because for a while after I got out, it didn’t seem like progress would ever happen in Missouri.” – Seth Ferranti for Filter